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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Shaping Up

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?

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Chain of Changes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange the shapes in a line so that you change either colour or shape in the next piece along. Can you find several ways to start with a blue triangle and end with a red circle?

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More on Mazes

Stage: 2 and 3

There is a long tradition of creating mazes throughout history and across the world. This article gives details of mazes you can visit and those that you can tackle on paper.

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Polydron

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.

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Triangle Animals

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?

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Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

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Creating Cubes

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.

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Square Corners

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?

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Two by One

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.

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Order the Changes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?

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Making Squares

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?

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Neighbours

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10 are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the largest possible number of houses in the square?

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Hexpentas

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?

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Two Dots

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.

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Celtic Knot

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.

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Half Time

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey matches?

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Quadrilaterals

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?

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Eight Queens

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.

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Room Doubling

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.

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Make Pairs

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the rules.

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Difference

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the difference between the two numbers just below it.

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Coded Hundred Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?

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Ice Cream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.

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Shapes in a Grid

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?

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Dienes' Logiblocs

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the shapes in the picture?

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Two on Five

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

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Map Folding

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?

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Four Colours

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.

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Three Sets of Cubes, Two Surfaces

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many models can you find which obey these rules?

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Tri-five

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five equilateral triangles edge to edge.

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Waiting for Blast Off

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?

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Fifteen Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you use the information to find out which cards I have used?

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Jigsaw Pieces

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle pieces could there be?

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A Square of Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four calculations are correct?

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Late Again

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?

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Knight's Swap

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?

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Button-up

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all the buttons?

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Find the Difference

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the difference between the two numbers just below it.

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Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?

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Reach 100

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.

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One to Fifteen

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?

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Cubes Here and There

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?

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Putting Two and Two Together

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?

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Nine-pin Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

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Masterclass Ideas: Working Systematically

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A package contains a set of resources designed to develop students’ mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on “being systematic” and is designed to meet. . . .

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Three Ball Line Up

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.

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Same Length Trains

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?

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Growing Garlic

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.

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Briefcase Lock

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an 8. How many possible combinations are there to try?